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An Etymology prompt by David Swann

Here’s the second prompt in our series from award winning writer and senior university lecturer, David Swann, based on the definition in the frontispiece of his prize-winning novella-in-flash, Season of Bright Sorrow
We’ve quoted the definition here:

‘derelict (adj.) 1640s, “left, abandoned by the owner or guardian,”
from Latin derelictus “solitary, deserted,”… “leave behind,
forsake, abandon, give up,”… Originally especially of vessels
abandoned at sea or stranded on shore. Of persona, “unfaithful,
neglectful of responsibility,” by 1864.’ — Online Etymology
Dictionary, derelict | Origin and meaning of derelict by Online
Etymology Dictionary (etymonline.com)
Season of Bright Sorrow – a phrase sometimes used to describe
the cold, sunny days of Lent, a time of both hunger and hope.

Our second print run of Season of Bright Sorrow will be back at the Ad Hoc Fiction book shop shortly, but in the meantime, you can buy from Amazon (linked to your country on the bookshop page) or purchase a signed copy direct from David. Just email jude at jude{at}adhocfiction{dot}com and she will pass on details to him.

David’s prompt

Browse the etymology website below until you find a concrete image hidden inside a word that intrigues you. For instance, our word ‘scene’ contains an ancient vestige of Arabian tents! Or ‘dereliction’ contains a stranded boat. This may take a while. But, once you have found an image that excites you, see if you can give this image to a lonely character. Then wait to see what happens when you connect their loneliness to the prop and the word. This is one of the ways in which ‘Season of Bright Sorrow’ first fired into life, all its elements brought together by the theme of ‘dereliction’. See: Etymonline – Online Etymology Dictionary

Etymonline – Online Etymology Dictionary
The online etymology dictionary (etymonline) is the internet’s go-to source for quick and reliable accounts of the origin and history of English words, phrases, and idioms. It is professional enough to satisfy academic standards, but accessible enough to be used by anyone.

Our 2022 Novella in Flash Award just finished and we’re looking forward to reading more wonderful novellas in flash. Thank you to everyone for entering. We expect final results to be out in April, 2022.

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Bricolage – a prompt from David Swann

Dave Swann had lots of interesting things to say at the launch of Season of Bright Sorrow at the Flash Fiction Festival on January 8th. We’re very happy that he has agreed to run a half hour session on The Fibonacci method of writing at the March 26th festival day, showing how he used this in one of his stories. In the meantime, we are including some more of the prompts he kindly sent to us which inspired more stories in the novella.

Bricolage. (‘Do it yourself’, in French). Here, the writer works as a beachcomber, picking up fragments, like Mr Flook in my novella. (Jude says: Throughout Season of Bright Sorrow there are fascinating short list pieces showing what Mr Flook finds on Morecombe beach. Here’s the first piece below):

In the bag

One straw hat.
Two mermaid’s purses.
Sea-glass (blue).
Two lengths of barbed wire.
Copper coin or token (unidentifiable).
Many plastic bottles, many bags.
Child’s hair band.
Whelk shell (broken), plus egg-cases (attached).

So go out into the street and either collect or photograph, say, ten fragments that you come across (litter, pebbles, leaves, etc.) Then lay them out before you and write a flash, or a series of flashes, that use your ‘beachcombing’ as props in a narrative chain. On p.60 of Season of Bright Sorrow, you’ll find an Outsider Artist working as a bricoleur.

For another example, see Outsider Environments Europe: Willem van Genk, Busstation Arnhem/Arnhem bus station (outsider-environments.blogspot.com). For those who are interested in finding out more, Jarvis Cocker made a brilliant series about Outsider Art.

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Bath Flash 2021 Round Up and Thank you!

Thank you to everyone from around the world who supported all our flash fiction ventures in 2021. We so appreciate all your support. This year we ran the three Bath Flash Fiction Awards, receiving 3947 entries in total from 64 different countries; the novella-in-flash award which over 100 writers entered and since March this year, have sponsored eight monthly on-line flash fiction festival days with fabulous workshops, talks, readings and mini-contests.

The first online festival day of 2022 is coming up on Saturday January 8th with more great workshops, two mini=contests with cash and other prizes, readings and chats to boost your New Year writing resolves. Just £30 for a whole day of flashy fun 11.00 am – 6.30 pm GMT and plenty of free places for those for whom cost is a barrier. Book at flashfictionfestival.com

And we have also taken the plunge to sponsor a further in-person Flash Fiction Festival in Bristol, UK on the weekend of 8-10th July. We’ve a fantastic line up of presenters and online as well as in-person options for workshops and talks. We’ve booked the venue and a brilliant caterer. And there’s only a few more things to arrange before booking opens at the end of January. Read in Full

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Launch Party for 4 Novellas in Flash, 22nd December!

Come to the launch party, hosted by Ad Hoc Fiction director, Jude Higgins on Wednesday 22nd December, 7.30pm – 9.30 pm on Zoom for four of the novellas-in-flash published from our 2021 Award! Published today (9th December 2021), in a beautiful line up, One For the River by Tom 0’Brien a runner up in the Award; and two short-listed novellas, The Listening Project by Ali McGrane and Kipris by Michelle Christophorou. We’ll also be officially launching Small Things by Hannah Sutherland, highly commended in the 2021 Award and published in October.

These are four brilliant novellas in flash, all very different and at the launch the authors will tell us more about them and each read three short pieces from the books.There will be break out chats and a book giveaways at the end of the evening. Hope you can come! Email jude {at} adhocfiction {dot} com for a link. All welcome. In the meantime, have a look at our 2021 judge, Michelle Elvy’s comments on the novellas.

You can buy all of them directly at the online bookshop at Ad Hoc Fiction. On each bookshop page there are also links for buying in paperback from Amazon world wide. And if you want a signed copy, some of our authors are selling them directly. Please DM them on Twitter to ask for a copy or email Jude at the above address for her to pass your details on.

And the last of the ten novellas in flash from the 2021 Award (the fifth yearly Bath Novella in Flash Award) will be published by Ad Hoc Fiction on 18th December. It’s the first prize winner, Season of Bright Sorrow by David Swann. Read more about it here. It is now open for preorder. We hope to launch David’s book in early January.

The 2022 Bath Novella in Flash Award closes on January 14th. Submissions welcome for novellas in flash in between 6000 and 18000 words. Michelle Elvy is judging again and results will be out in April 2022.

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Preorders open for Season of Bright Sorrow, winning Novella in Flash by David Swann

We’re thrilled that Season of Bright Sorrow David Swann’s brilliant first prize winning novella in flash from our 2021 NIF Award judged by Michelle Elvy is now up for preorder at a 25% discount from Ad Hoc Fiction, until publication day on 18th December.

It’s such a moving story, and is wonderfully illustrated with drawings by artist Sam Hubbard, some of which are shown below.

The striking cover image was also designed by Sam and shows a prison notebook. Sam and Dave have supplied a ‘Property of the prison’ stamp for us to use to make the book unique before it is posted off to purchasers. Season of Bright Sorrow will also be available on Amazon worldwide at publication, but you won’t get an individualised stamp there!

Here’s a brief synopsis:

After her father is jailed for murder, a young girl is re-housed with her mother in a crumbling resort. There are terrors here: tides and quick-sands, also a strange boy who wanders the marsh. But when the girl meets an elderly beachcomber who has known heartaches of his own, she senses that her fortunes could turn like the tide. The tide that rushes in faster than a horse, bringing life – and sometimes taking it…

Read in Full

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Three more novellas in flash available for preorder now!

Ad Hoc Fiction is publishing all the shortlist and winners from the 2021 Novella in Flash Award. Ten novellas in all and today three more are up for preorder.
You can read judge Michelle Elvy’s report here.

One for the River, a story about the tragic death of a young boy in a river by Tom 0’Brien was the runner-up in this year’s Award and he has extended the story for publication so it has even more poignant impact since we read it first at Bath Flash. We’re also pleased that Kipris by Michelle Christophorou a coming of age story set in British occupied Cyprus in the last century has a few extra stories in it, which add to the depth of this little written about period of history. The Listening Project by Ali McGrane focusses brilliantly on other aspects of loss — the loss of hearing and the loss of a brother.

All these books are beautifully written and address important issues in different ways. You can now pre-order at a 25% discount until publication day for all three on Thursday 9th October. We hope to host an online launch shortly and will keep you posted

Below, we’ve added a gallery of these three novellas in flash now up for pre-order and the six others from this year’s award already published and available from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop. They are A Family of Great Falls by Debra A Daniel, Things I Can’t Tell Amma by Sudha Balagopal, The Tony Bone Stories by Al Kratz, Hairy on The Inside by Tracy Fells, The Death and Life of Mrs Parker by Jupiter Jones and Small Things by Hannah Sutherland.

The winner of our last year’s award, Season of Bright Sorrow by David Swann will also be out soon. And if you want to enter next year’s Award, it closes on January 14th and is again judged by writer and editor Michelle Elvy

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19th Award Round Up

Thank you again to all who entered our 19th Award and sent in stories from around the world. We appreciate your support very much and greatly enjoyed reading the huge variety of stories we received. This time, 1212 flash fictions from 44 countries, listed below. It’s wonderful to know there are flash fiction writers in all these different places.

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam, Zambia

Read in Full

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Happy Book Birthday! – The first year of Going Short, by Nancy Stohlman

We’re very happy at Ad Hoc Fiction and Bath Flash Fiction to be celebrating the first birthday of the publication of Going Short – an Invitation to Flash Fiction, which was published by Ad Hoc Fiction on October 15th, 2020 and launched on Zoom with readings from different writers who have attended Nancy’s courses and retreats over the years. Going Short is available from Amazon worldwide in paperback and ebook formats and directly from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop (all links to Amazon in different countries are on the shop page). Read in Full

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Interview with Michelle Elvy about her hybrid collection, the other side of better

Ad Hoc Fiction, our short short fiction press, published the other side of better, by Michelle Elvy in June this year, exactly two years after publishing her innovative small novel in small forms, the everrumble, launched at the Flash Fiction Festival, held in Bristol in 2019. This new book is equally innovative, traversing the line between prose and poetry. In this interview Michelle tells us more about the book, the book launches which took place in New Zealand in June to co-incide with National Flash Fiction Day, NZ and what New Zealand poet laureate David Eggleton said about it. Michelle also talks about how she arrived at the title and the striking artwork for the cover by New Zealand artist, Jennifer Halli. the other side of better is also available from Nationwide and book shops in New Zealand as well as directly from Ad Hoc Fiction and in August and September Michelle is recording some online readings so we will all be able to hear stories from the collection. We are also delighted that Michelle Elvy, who judged our 2021 Novella-in-Flash Award, is judging the 2022 NIF Award which is open for entries now and closes on January 14th 2022. Read in Full

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Interview with Sharon Telfer, 19th Award Judge

We’re delighted that writer and editor, Sharon Telfer is going to judge our 19th Bath Flash Fiction Award, which is open July 1st and closes October 9th. Sharon, has some brilliant and encouraging flash fiction writing advice here, as well as news about her forthcoming collection from Reflex Fiction, The Map Waits. Do read the interview and be inspired.

Sharon Telfer lives in East Yorkshire, in the north of England. She won the Bath Flash Fiction Award in June 2016 with ‘Terra Incognita’ and again in February 2020 with ‘Eight Spare Bullets’. She has also won the Reflex Flash Fiction Prize. Her flash has been selected for Best Small Fictions 2021, the 2020 and 2019 ‘BIFFY50’ lists, and Best Microfiction 2019. She was awarded the Word Factory/New Writing North Short Story Apprenticeship in 2018, and placed second in the Bath Short Story Award 2020. She also has a short story in Test Signal, an anthology of contemporary northern writing (Bloomsbury/Dead Ink, 2021). Her debut flash fiction collection, The Map Waits, is published by Reflex Press in 2021. She’s a founding editor of FlashBack Fiction, the online litmag showcasing historical flash. She tweets @sharontelfer and posts terrible photos on Instagram, @sharontelferwriter. Read in Full

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